Twenty years ago today, the world watched as the Prince of Orange, future King of the Netherlands, married his Argentine fiancée, Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti. Let’s look back at the remarkable jewels worn for the celebration in Amsterdam on February 2, 2002.
Willem-Alexander and Máxima were wed in a pair of ceremonies in Amsterdam on 02/02/2002. The first was a civil ceremony, held in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.
The couple were married by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen. The witnesses were family and friends. Willem-Alexander’s witnesses were his brother, Prince Constantijn, and two friends, Marc ter Haar and Frank Houben. Máxima’s witnesses were her aunt and godmother, Marcela Cerruti Carricart; her brother, Martin Zorreguieta Cerruti; and, touchingly, Queen Beatrix. As we’ve discussed previously, Máxima’s parents did not attend her wedding. The choice of her new mother-in-law as one of her witnesses was reportedly a gesture from Máxima to thank Beatrix for her unwavering support throughout the relationship.
After the civil ceremony, the bride and groom traveled to the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam for the religious wedding ceremony. The historic church and museum was also the site of Willem-Alexander’s investiture in 2013.
Above, I’m embedding video of the religious wedding ceremony and the procession that followed. It’s a long video, but if you want to see a highlight, I’d suggest skipping to about 26 minutes in, when the couple make their vows. After each of them says Ja, the crowd watching on screens outside cheers so loudly that it echoes through the church, making the entire congregation (and Alexander and Máxima) laugh. “They heard your answer,” the officiant deadpans after the future king’s response. Both of them are clearly so touched that the Dutch people are so excited for them. It’s great.
Another frequently discussed moment from the ceremony is the playing of Adiós Nonino, an Argentine tango by Ástor Piazzolla. The song, which was written in memory of the composer’s father, was played as a tribute to Máxima’s Argentine roots and to her parents. She wipes away tears throughout the playing of the song. I’ve included a separate video with just that portion of the service above.
After the religious wedding ceremony, the couple departed the church to the sounds of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.
They rode through the streets of Amsterdam after the ceremony in the nineteenth-century Golden Coach (which has recently been retired by the family).
The newly-married couple, now the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima, appeared on the balcony of the Royal Palace to greet the people gathered below in Dam Square.
They delighted the crowd with a traditional kiss during the balcony appearance.
The families posed together for a formal portrait after the wedding. On the right are Willem-Alexander’s family: Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus, Prince Friso, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien, and Prince Bernhard. Maxima’s family is on the left. Though her parents did not attend, the rest of the family was present, including all of her siblings and half-sisters, as well as her aunt. Her sister, the late Inés Zorreguieta Cerruti, was one of her bridesmaids. The bridal party also included two of Willem-Alexander’s cousins, Juliana Guillermo and Theresa von der Recke. One of the pageboys, Johann-Casper von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen, is also a cousin of the prince. The rest of the attendants were family friends.
Now, let’s get to the topic most of you are really interested in: the clothes and the jewels! Máxima’s ivory silk and lace wedding gown was designed by Valentino. She wore a cathedral-length veil that matched the length of the gown’s sixteen-foot train.
The bridal ensemble was accessorized with diamonds. Máxima wore a new setting of an heirloom tiara for her wedding. The Dutch Star Tiara is made by combining the base of the Pearl Button Tiara with five of Queen Emma’s ten-pointed diamond stars. She also wore a pair of diamond drop earrings and a diamond bracelet on her right wrist.
I’ve managed to track down images of most (but sadly, not all) of the royal guests who attended the ceremony. Here, Queen Beatrix arrives on the arm of her second son, the late Prince Friso. She wore pearls for the occasion, including a gorgeous diamond and pearl cluster brooch.
Prince Claus was at Queen Beatrix’s side as they left the church after the wedding. Prince Claus had been in ill health for some years, and in October 2002, he passed away from complications of pneumonia and Parkinson’s Disease.
Prince Constantijn, the groom’s youngest brother, attended the wedding with his wife, Princess Laurentien. They were expecting their first child at the time. Countess Eloise was born in June 2002.
Princess Laurentien wore pieces from the Dutch Fire Opal Suite for the wedding.
All three of Willem-Alexander’s royal aunts were in attendance as well. Here’s Princess Margriet with her husband, Pieter van Vollenhoven. She wore pearls for the occasion. You can’t see it in this image, but her wrap is covering a lovely pearl cluster brooch with pearl pendants.
Princess Irene and Princess Christina attended with their father (and the groom’s grandfather), Prince Bernhard. Princess Irene wore lovely diamond drop earrings for the occasion, while Princess Christina wore pearls. I also spy a classic diamond and sapphire cluster ring on Irene’s hand.
Here’s Máxima’s brother, Martin Zorreguieta Cerruti, arriving for the ceremony with his wife, Mariana Andrés.
There was a large foreign royal contingent at the wedding. They arrived for the wedding in large coach buses. Here, the Prince of Wales sits on a bus near his brother, the Earl of Wessex.
Prince Charles walked in to the church with Queen Noor of Jordan, who wore a turquoise ensemble with a lovely white lace headscarf.
And here’s Charles with his sister-in-law, the Countess of Wessex. Sophie wore her diamond and pearl wedding earrings for the ceremony, plus a three-stranded pearl necklace.
Pearls really were the most popular adornment on the day. Here’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. She piled on the pearls, wearing a three-stranded necklace and a five-stranded bracelet. She also wore the same pearl and diamond brooch that Princess Madeleine had borrowed for the dinner at the Royal Palace two days earlier.
Crown Princess Victoria wore a lovely pair of earrings that appear to have a diamond bow detail with topaz accents.
Princess Madeleine wore a choker necklace made of ribbon with hoop earrings to match.
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark wore her modern diamond and pearl drop earrings with the pavé-set square studs. She also pinned an antique brooch to her hat: it’s the Connaught Pearl Bar Brooch, which Margrethe received from her great-aunt, Princess Patricia of Connaught (Lady Patricia Ramsay) as an eighteenth-birthday gift in 1958.
Margrethe’s sister, Queen Anne-Marie, wore red for the wedding. She accessorized with pearls, diamonds, and rubies, including a little diamond heart brooch.
Crown Princess Marie-Chantal wore a pair of diamond earrings with black pearl drops.
I don’t have a photograph of Princess Benedikte from the wedding that I can share, but she wore a gray outfit with black fur accents. Her elder daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, wore jewels set with diamonds and amethysts.
Queen Sonja of Norway loves a bold color moment, and this wedding was the perfect opportunity for her to pay tribute to her hosts by wearing bright orange. She accessorized with diamond and pearl earrings and a pearl choker necklace.
Small diamond stud earrings and a diamond and ruby ring were Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s major accessories for the event.
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway wore a beaded choker necklace and coordinating earrings.
Queen Paola of the Belgians wore baroque pearl earrings and a pearl necklace for the ceremony.
The Duchess of Brabant wore hoop earrings with her red and black outfit.
And then, there’s Princess Astrid of Belgium, who wore gorgeous diamond and pearl earrings. They were overshadowed a bit by … everything else.
Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg also got the pearl memo for the wedding.
Her daughter-in-law, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, wore gold-toned earrings with her fur-trimmed outfit.
Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg wore pearls for the occasion, too.
So did Queen Sofia of Spain. She paired the 37-Pearl Necklace from the joyas de pasar collection with diamond and pearl button earrings.
Infanta Cristina of Spain wore one of her most elegant jewels: the diamond and emerald brooch she inherited from her grandmother, the Countess of Barcelona. Sadly, the brooch’s details got a bit lost against Cristina’s dark clothing.
And here’s Princess Caroline of Hanover, standing between her husband, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, and her brother, Prince Albert of Monaco. She also wore pearls for the wedding.
She pinned a gorgeous brooch set with diamonds and a silvery-black pearl to her jacket. And don’t miss the enormous cocktail ring on her left hand!
Also in pearls was Begum Inaara Aga Khan (previously Princess Gabriele of Leiningen), who wore gorgeous pearl and diamond earrings and a major pearl and diamond ring.
Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graça Machel, were present for the wedding as well.
Here, they’re part of a rather impressive row of wedding guests. From left to right, we’ve got Sir James Wolfensohn, the ninth president of the World Bank; the Mandelas; and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with his wife, Nane. Graça wore lovely golden jewels set with colorful gems, while Nane chose gold and pearl pieces for the occasion.